Kevin DeYoung identifies some common fallacies to watch out for.
All of us can make strong sounding arguments that, upon closer inspection, are much less than meets the eye. We employ rhetorical strategies that look impressive (and often work) but contain hidden assumptions and flimsy reasoning. Here are six common arguments (or approaches to argumentation) that can stop us in our tracks, but are actually less impressive than they seem. These arguments are not all wrong, but they must be evaluated with discernment, and they must not be accepted without corroborating evidence.
A mother of a Down Syndrome child discusses her decision not to screen on her current pregnancy:
The list of potential problems that we received after she was born could never have predicted the pride we felt when Penny learned to write her name, when she, after months of practice, jumped off the ground with two feet, when she finally progressed to big-girl underwear.
The data told us that learning would be harder for her than for a typically developing child. It is, and yet she is able to write all the letters of the alphabet and tell stories and make up songs. And no list of developmental problems told us that empathy would be easier for her, that her eyes would well with tears and she would run to console her little brother when he falls and cries, that even as a 2-year-old she would see a picture of a wounded man and say: “Me help! Me help!”
Tragically, studies show that “92 percent of women who learn they are carrying babies with DS opt to abort.” (Washington Post.)
Paul Tripp offers wise words about how we discipline our children, and how God disciplines us:
Our children were too young to grasp the abstract, strategic, and often theological purposes underlying my instruction. Even if I explained everything in as age-appropriate a way as I could, they would still have no actual understanding. They just did not yet have the categories or the capacity to grasp the parental logic behind the plan or command.
Kroger sells “generic” fruit snacks branded with the characters from VeggieTales. My kids love VeggieTales, but it can be a bit jarring eating a snack that’s shaped like and named ONE food, and has the flavor of ANOTHER:
Larry the Cucumber: Sour Apple
Laura Carrot: Watermelon
Madame Blueberry: Blue Raspberry (couldn’t they have done, I dunno, blueberry for this one?)
Pa Grape: Grape (surprised they didn’t go for eggplant here…)
Junior Asparagus: Lemon
Bob the Tomato: Strawberry
According to 1 Corinthians 6 unrepentant homosexuals (along with unrepentant thieves, drunkards, idolaters, adulterers, revilers, swindlers, and money-lovers) will not inherit the kingdom of God. Heaven and hell literally hang in the balance.
Of course, homosexuality isn’t the only sin in the world. But I know of no one who is advocating idolatry or championing stealing as a special blessing from God. Yet, many are advocating homosexuality, and the ELCA not officially endorses it. It is not an overstatement to say that such advocacy is in danger of leading people to hell. This isn’t because homosexuals are worse sinners than all the rest, but because unless we all turn from our sin and fight against it in faith – with victories and defeats to be sure – we will face God’s wrath. In tolerating the doctrine which affirms homosexual behavior, we are tolerating a doctrine which leads people farther from God, not closer. This is not the mission Jesus gave us when he told us to teach the nations all that he has commanded.